What’s next? The dreaded fears of post-graduation

Illustration by Hannah Swann

Kimberley Glascoe

Illustration by Hannah Swann

In May, that special day that many students dream about will become a reality. Basking in the excitement of graduation will last until someone asks the dreaded question, “So, what are you going to do now?”

Thinking of an answer that will please my parents and sever the lips of the person who popped my commencement bubble always baffles me because I don’t know.

Many don’t know that walking across the stage will be one of the biggest moments in your life, alongside marriage and having children. Let’s be honest: Most of us don’t know our plans for the rest of the week ahead of us, so it’s mind boggling for us to sit and figure out what we’re going to do when our college career is over.

How many options are really out there? Even though it doesn’t seem like a lot, the possibilities are really endless. Getting a job ranks number one on the list for most, and I find myself sitting in a daze staring at job applications daily. Yes, it gets tiring, but I know I have to do it.

But maybe you want to do something different like join the military or the Peace Corps. Maybe you want to travel the world. And there’s always grad school right?

What are a couple more years and a couple more thousand dollars to add to your already-overflowing pile of debt?

A long time ago, society pointed its parenting finger at us and said, “Go to college,” but what society didn’t tell us was that there may not always be a job waiting for us on the outside. We’ve gotten too caught up in what society thinks we should do, and we let that dictate our path instead of creating our own.

It’s a scary feeling not knowing your next move, but for some, that’s how they live their entire life.

I could easily apply for grad school or enlist in the military if a job isn’t handed to me, but I want to choose the path that’s correct for me, and I don’t want to rush into a decision that I’ll soon regret.

Don’t kid yourself. The real world is a cold, scary place, but with the right determination, goals can still be achieved. Having a plan is one of the best things you can do for yourself, whether it’s your first year of college or your last. Do things to build your résumé and don’t be afraid to take internships after you graduate because it could turn into a job. Keep bettering yourself because there are always people out there willing to do your job better than you in order to take your spot.

May graduates, we’ve already taken the first step, which is getting through these four challenging years of college. Hopefully you haven’t spent all your glory days cramming for exams to which you may not have known the answers, partying and drinking.

Hopefully you’ve been spent the last four years preparing for this moment. If VCU has taught me anything, I’ve learned that it’s OK to stumble, and it’s OK to not have all the right answers at the right times, but it’s important to ask questions.

The time is upon us to really sit and ask ourselves: What are we going to do next?

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